Letter originally published on SNEWS. Feature photo by Jeff Curley.
With all of the recent headlines dealing with President Trump and the leaving of the Paris Climate Agreement, (Hawaii just enacted its own state law in line with the environmental goals set in Paris.) we saw one the cut through the never ending cycle and spoke to us as snowboarders. Big Mountain Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters, wrote an open letter to the President and had a quick chat with us about it. Full letter below the interview.
What drove you to write the letter?
I write quite a bit… I like the process. I wrote it for myself to clear my thoughts and just get my head around it, not thinking that I was going to put it out to the world. And then I had my cousin, who runs SNEWS, asked if I had anything on the paris thing, I was on the fence if I was going release it.
I think one of our biggest problem is that it has become political. If you say vote for the environment right now, that means vote democrat… and that is not good for the country, it is making companies reluctant to speak up because it would piss off half the country right away. But the silver lining, with Trump’s announcement to pull out, I saw a large amount of companies who stayed away in past use their power as industry leaders to speak up!
What does it mean to pull out of the Paris Accord?
It means that we basically, instead of a country that has largely been built on leading innovation and doing what is right in the world, are taking a back seat and not embracing the solutions as opportunities. We are seeing other countries in the world pass us up in embracing the transition to renewables. We know it is coming, but we are taking a step back, that is where my frustration is coming from.
Has he tweeted about it yet?
God! We would love to get blasted by Trump on twitter! That is one of the reasons why we started #KeepParis, we realize twitter is a medium he uses a ton of, so we do too! We want to call him in, not call him out. Get him to act on climate. He has made climate change front page news… I just wish it was front page because of positive things and not negative things.
If he were to tweet about it, what do you think he would say?
I cannot channel my inner Trump and I hope that I never can!
What can people do to get involved?
We actually put a lot of time into this answer because we have a lot of people asking what can I do! We just launched a comprehensive list of what everyone can do to get in the game.
Originally ran on SNEWS.
Dear Mr. President,
I have spent my life in the mountains. My life depends on being in tune with nature, weather and snow.
In 2007, I started Protect Our Winters because I had become increasingly alarmed with the changing climate and shrinking of glaciers.
I did not need science to tell me snow lines are rising, weather is getting more erratic and more extreme, and that glaciers are melting at a rapid rate.
However, it is science that I ask you to accept. It is the work of 13,000 scientists representing the world’s most prestigious scholastic institutions. It is the people being forced out of their countries by rising sea levels and extreme drought. It is the bleaching of the reefs, the scorching of the earth, and the melting of the poles.
Most importantly, I write to you for the kids of today.
Speaking to groups of kids has always been a highlight for me. To watch their intense focus as I explain to them the sobering facts of climate change. To feel the excitement in the room as I explain the solutions. Explain how, through the help of science, we are learning how to reduce our impact on the planet.
That with great challenges comes great opportunities. I ask them whether they would rather work in a coal mine or build solar panels or windmills. I ask them whether they would rather drive a car that runs on the sun or oil. Live in a house that adds to the grid and doesn’t take from it.
I ask them if they want to leave the planet better than they found it. I ask them if they want to see a vibrant, thriving ocean or a bleached, dead one. Plowed fields or rain forest.
Unfortunately, these talks have taken a somber turn. I have to decide if I should tell them the sobering truth that the United States of America is failing on climate. That big oil and big money are winning or that our elected officials are being funded by the fossil fuel industry and voting to protect the profits of a few, at the detriment of the planet.
I ask you, Mr. President: Do I tell them that we are the largest polluters on the planet and doing the least about it? That the rest of the world has taken climate seriously? That they are creating jobs—and opportunities—doing it?
Do I tell them that we have failed them? That we—their parents and grandparents—have failed them? That we have all sat idly by while a great injustice is happening right in front of our eyes? That we have done nothing because change is too hard? That turning coal jobs into renewable jobs is too hard?
I don’t know how you do it. How do you look the kids of our country in the eyes and tell them that you put short-term profits ahead of long-term solutions?
But, actually, I don’t want to know. I don’t aspire to have that skill set. I would rather stumble and bumble as I try to offer some explanation and information to keep the hope fires burning.
Thankfully, the tide is changing.
Thankfully, innovation, change, and progress always win.
Thankfully, despite your efforts, renewables are being embraced by the world, and our country, at an amazing rate.
Thankfully, the smartest, most innovative companies are all-in on doing what’s best for future generations.
Thankfully, mayors and governors are acting on climate.
Thankfully, the world is acting on climate.
Thankfully, 70 percent of the U.S. wants action on climate.
You know better than anyone that the mighty dollar always wins. And thankfully, the mighty dollar is falling in love with a clean energy future.
Because, frankly sir, science always wins. Truth always wins. Sometimes it just takes a little time. But you are on the wrong side of this one, Mr. Trump.
You have been so bad on the environment that you have just made this the issue of the next election.
Thankfully, sir, your days are numbered.
Founder, Protect Our Winters